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I really hate “hindsight” and Monday morning quarterbacking. It’s bad enough when the media and lay people do it, but it’s ten times worse when Law Enforcement Bureaucrats start scapegoating and throwing other LE under the bus to save their own careers.

The shooter was the bad guy, not the responding law enforcement officers. The police are always wrong these days. If they had rushed in and gotten some children killed in a crossfire situation then they would have been vilified. By not going in, they are being vilified. It’s a lose-lose situation for the officers in question. They are the silent victims here, and their lives are over as they knew it. I would not be surprised if some of them didn’t take the “long walk.” You don’t think they feel bad enough without being crucified in the media?

I’ve been teaching and training for active shooter scenarios since Columbine. Training crisis entries for a couple of decades before that. Hindsight is always going to be 20/20, but when the balloon goes up, you go with what you know at the time. You pray to God that your actions don’t get innocent people killed and you do everything you can to promote reverence for human lives. Throwing these officers under the bus is just shameful.
 

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The choice of having the chief of the 6 man school police department as your incident commander is an odd one. He's in charge of the smallest agency with the fewest resources. Other than he and his officers being more familiar with the specific layout of the school, they don't bring much to the table.
I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but perhaps it was a jurisdictional issue? I work for the largest agency in my area, but if we go into a smaller neighboring city, we pretty much have to abide by their requests. Their house, their rules. Never mind that we have more resources than they do. It’s just the way it is.
 
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Of course I agree that in an ideal world the chief isn’t running the tactical scene. As you know, better than I, I suspect, the world isn’t always ideal. For larger agencies the boss can and should let the on scene experts handle it. Stay the hell out of the way and do Chief stuff. For smaller agencies this simply isn’t always an option. If there’s only a few boots on the ground and one of them is El Jeffe, he’d better be taking charge and doing grunt work, at least until he can be relieved by someone else.
I work for a larger agency and the way it works is that the incident commander is generally a sergeant or a lieutenant. They are actively running the tactical incident. However, when Captains and Commanders and Chiefs start to show up, the incident commander will ask if they are assuming incident command. In almost all circumstances, the command staff will defer to the tactical incident commander because they don’t want to or can‘t run an active tactical operation. That being said, inexplicably, some command staff will try and interject and give directions anyways. It’s totally disregarding incident command protocol, but it’s not unusual for a member of the command staff to override a tactical decision made by the incident commander. In the past, we have had some infamous incidents when things went terribly wrong, and the command staff tried to throw the incident commander under the bus for a decision the higher up made. In the end, it becomes a mess settled in the courts, and usually results in a retirement or two.
 

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@SAR

The school would be within the borders of the town or at least the county, so the larger agencies should have concurrent jurisdiction if they choose to exercise it. At least that's how it works around here.

For purposes of critical incident command the decision between all of those agencies as to who was going to be in charge should have been worked out beforehand. I'm guessing that they weren't, which is how Arredondo ended up in charge by default.
We’ve actually had large scale active shooter incidents. The one that comes immediately to mind is an incident that happened at UCLA a few years back. Our agency may outnumber UCLA PD 100 to 1, but they know the lay of the land, and had all the keys and building plans. We were forced to defer to them. It led to some animosity and some tactical issues… In was a clusterfk is all I can say.
 

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Agency size is a consideration, but far from the only one when it comes to selecting the commander for this sort of thing…if it even drags on long enough for those kinds of discussions.
Agency size is indeed a consideration, but in an apples to oranges sort of way. I’ve worked for a small agency, a medium sized agency, and a huge agency. I can’t even make comparisons between the different agencies, and had I not worked each of them, I would have zero clue as to the best way to manage my resources accordingly. The first agency I worked for was small. We pretty much had to work our own scenes, figure things out on our own, and in the rare instances we needed back up, they might be rolling from 30 miles or more away. Contrast that to my large agency where I have multiple air assets and a full time SWAT team at my beck and call. Huge difference. I was the incident commander at one event where I summoned the SWAT Team and had two air units circling overhead. I had over a hundred personnel on hand to secure a perimeter and to conduct multiple searches. I even had on duty detectives respond to start canvassing for witnesses… there is no way I would have ever had such a luxury on my small agency and if I had, I would have been 100% overwhelmed and unable to figure out how to manage such vast assets if I did have them. Now if I had started at my large agency and went to a smaller one, the opposite would be true… If I had a major incident I’d be reaching into my pockets for all of the resources I was accustomed to and come up empty…

So basically what I am getting at is that an incident commander is best in his element, but may not fare very well if he is taken out of it and handed a lot less resources or a lot more resources… If I were the Chief of a small agency, I doubt I would know where to begin to deploy Federal Tactical Teams and the multitude of assets pouring in. I’d probably get analysis paralysis.
 

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Here is what they are saying now.


As I said, the real decision was made by those officers who didn’t press forward at the beginning. But that locked door was going to be an issue for them.
No one will see it in the cluttter of the critique of the cops, but those two unlocked doors is where all the difference could have been made.
Locked doors? During an active shooter incident? No problem. During the UCLA Active shooter incident that I previously mentioned, only the Unicops had keys which led to our guys to breach locked doors, much to the consternation of the Unicops. This subsequently led to a flurry of calls to 911 that the active shooter was now tossing grenades, but I digress.

Again, reason number 365 that unless prior joint training or MOA exists, the local jurisdiction rules the roost.
 

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Local jurisdictions don’t always rule the roost especially when it’s some rinky dink village department or agency. Nassau county PD and Suffolk county PD don’t take a backseat to them. County or state police departments often won’t answer to the locals
It all depends,, As an example, the City of Los Angeles surrounds on all sides, the cities of San Fernando, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Culver City. Any Active Shooter scenario is on them, and they would absolutely rule the roost if we came in unless they voluntarily relinquished control to us. The City of San Fernando might, but Santa Monica and Beverly Hills? Not a chance in hell would they ever defer to LAPD.
 

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At any rate, there was a period of inaction which, rightly or wrongly, was adhered to by all present. And quite a few were present. I have no earthly idea of the realities they were addressing during this period, I’m sure they had quite a bit of info we don’t. But, for whatever reason, either all at the scene either agreed with the delay, didn‘t feel strongly enough to act in the presence of a flawed order, or couldn’t do anything about it.
Let’s not forget that this is 100% the fault of the bad guy who caused this… That being said, there’s always a risk and I think that’s what every officer thinks about when making the decision to go in or not.

We recently had an ”Active Shooter“ incident at our Agency where officers wasted zero time in making entry and seeking out the bad guy. Lead guy on point had a rifle and he fired on the bad guy as soon as he made contact. Tragically, one round penetrated a wall, and killed a young girl on the other side. He’s being vilified in the media for rushing things and he’s devastated beyond belief. Again.. I try not to forget that it was bad guy who caused this.
 

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In fact, when Bratton, the head of the NYC transit police told Ray Kelly, my cops can carry Glocks instead of revolvers. Kelly said “ no you can’t”. Bratton responded “ yes, I can.I run my own department “. Transit got Glocks but Ray Kelly kicked transit out of the NYPD academy where all three of us would train together. [ it’s Glock talk- I had to add that story in]
Since you mentioned it I have my own story. Not long after Bratton came to LA, he transitioned the Department to Glocks from Beretta 92F’s. One evening I was sent to go pick up Bratton at his home and transport him to the hospital where a wounded officer was being treated. During our ride, we exchanged small talk. I thanked him for allowing Glocks and told him I had recently transitioned myself. Without missing a beat he replied, “Don’t thank me.. I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a Beretta.” So that in a nutshell is how LAPD ushered in Glocks.
 

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The streets of hell are paved with the bones of lieutenants that didn’t listen to their Senior Sergeants.
Hey, I resemble that remark. I spent 21 years at the rank of sergeant. Going on 6 years as a lieutenant. I generally allow my senior sergeants to run the show, until I don’t. And if I do have to step in, I rarely get much push back. Trust me, if I have to step in, things have gone real south, and I’m not that Lieutenant that’s going to make things worse. 🤣
 

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You know it does occur to me. Just reading this thread, seeing how there are various agencies and experience levels, and seeing how we can’t come to a complete agreement over the tactics employed, just proves the point how difficult it is to manage a chaotic active shooting scene. We’re using the benefit of hindsight in a relatively safe environment here in Glocktalk. Yet, two days later, we’re still hashing out the issues…. This right here just shows me how difficult it is to make these kinds of split second decisions and although the prevailing sentiment is that the Chief made a monumental tactical error, I feel for him and can see how agonizing his decision must have been. I mean we’re not lay people. We’re people with real world experience, and here we are trying to make sense of this situation WITH the benefit of hindsight and still can’t totally agree.
 

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No split second decision needed to be made.

Just follow the process as outlined by every training organization in the country based on decades of experience.

Since kids are either not killed yet or bleeding out and in need of urgent medical care, there is no time to stop the fight.

Thor Eells, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association (NTAO), said "If you're in a classroom with innocent victims and I know that shots have been fired, I need to engage you. Even if you stopped firing, I'm going to make entry into the room so we can begin to administer life-saving aid to any potential victims," Eells said.

The delayed police response in Uvalde runs contrary to well-established, commonly taught active shooter protocol established after the Columbine school shooting of 1999, Eells said
You make it sound so easy. What’s your experience level?
 

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For sake of argument assume I have zero experience.

Now given that, I cannot find a single professional Active Shooter Training school that says they handled it correctly, can you cite one?

You see it is not about me, it is about all your fellow door kickers who said he phucked up.
So you’re talking all classroom theory and I’m talking from the perspective of 40 years of actual experience, 27 years of them as a supervisor, and with countless critical incidents under my belt. Nothing ever goes like you read about and if you keep spouting about how professional active shooter training Doctrine is, I’m going to ask you what your experience there is. I taught active shooter training at my agency for years.
 
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No I am quoting professional "Been There, Done That Folks"

Tell me where Thor Eells is wrong:

Thor Eells, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association (NTAO), said "If you're in a classroom with innocent victims and I know that shots have been fired, I need to engage you. Even if you stopped firing, I'm going to make entry into the room so we can begin to administer life-saving aid to any potential victims," Eells said.

Tell me were Director McCraw (20 years FBI/20 years DPS Director) is wrong?

Tell me where Paul Howe (20 years SOCOM) is wrong?

Tell me where Gilliam, Pike, ALERRT, O'Neill, and dozens of other door kickers or trainers are wrong?

Name ONE recognized expert who thinks it was handled correctly. Just One.
You and I are not on the same page. Honestly, I am not disagreeing with what classrooms teach about how to handle an active shooter incident. I have been on enough critical incidents to know that the Fog of War is real. At that very moment, you don’t know what you know and your decision process may become skewed.

I mean we teach pilots how not to crash by having them fly in a simulator for countless hours so they should never crash right? We teach police officers shoot, don’t shoot scenarios so they should never have a bad shooting right?

I am not arguing classroom theory here. I am talking about how decisions are made under stress and you still can’t tell me about your own experience when you might have had to make a life or death decision.
 

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Fair enough. I am just saying I cannot find any expert who says stopping assault was right move. Even if shooting stopped, it is urgent to get into help injured.
We are still not on the same page. You are still trying to argue theory and I am still talking about critical decision making under stress. You still haven’t actually given us any data points on your level of experience so I am guessing none.
 
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I am not arguing.

I am quoting what professionals have said. Asking if there are alternative views, which none have been provided.
There is no alternative view. Just how critical decisions are made. You seem to know everything, yet you can’t grasp that one single concept.
 
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Exactly. He phucked up.
And true leaders when mistakes are made don’t point fingers. They debrief the incident, discuss what went wrong, and what what went right. They discuss how things can be done differently going forward. All you seem to want to do it prove your glorious point that the Chief made a mistake. Was that even a question?

I can only say that I hope you never have to make a critical decision yourself. Let “the professionals” handle it.
 
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well, you would stand off to the side, kneel actually, with minimal exposure. Again, with a couple simple hand tools I bet I could’ve jimmied the latch open. I’ve done it before, not under fire though. And lock picks? Smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

now my whole point is that there were multiple options and ways to gain entry. Instead of making excuses for the Royal cluster **** I identify solutions that weren’t used. I mean, I thought the whole goal is to “learn and do better”. My bad
I’ve got a set of lock-picks. I know a few officers who have a set. If lock-picks were the answer for dynamic crisis incidents, we’d have been using them for decades. They are hardly a new invention and law enforcement has been using them since the early days when we still drove chariots. We used them for stealth entries and for those times, when time and crisis aren’t an issue. Again.. people who have not walked a mile in our shoes trying to dictate what would work better next time. If a law enforcement brother can step forward and truthfully tell me that they would have used lock picks, then I will gladly listen to him. Debriefs by necessity work better when the participants have actually dealt with similar situations.
 

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Well, if the actual problem was (which I doubt) that the door was locked and they had no key, it’s an option they could’ve spent 40min doing instead of…..nothing….. but I guess that’s not cool.
I’ll preface this saying I have been on dozens of high risk search warrants in my career either as a door kicker or incident commander. Many of them were fortified narcotics locations. It has never taken us 40 minutes to enter any location. Granted, many times, I had the SWAT Team or a breaching kit with me, but there have been many times when it was just patrol guys. As far as lock picks go, we used lock picks exactly zero times. However, where there is a will, there is a way. Police officers are resourceful, and if they need to get into a location, pretty much they can. Doors are for amateurs. We’ve gone as far as knocking out entire walls. But regardless, if they really needed to get in, they could have. I suspect, but don’t know because I wasn’t there, that the decision not to make entry was a tactical one and not because they couldn’t. We’re not talking about a bank vault here.
 
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